This adventure has moved quickly. I saw the job posting online on July 12 and emailed requesting more info. I spoke with someone the following day and submitted my application letter on July 16. My interview was July 21 and I received the job offer July 24.
I then began the arduous task of obtaining my work visa. I had to get a police background check and then take it and my original college diploma to the Secretary of State’s office to get them notarized and have the State Seal attached. This sounds simple, but the instructions I received came in different emails and with the 12+ hour time lag, it was all confusing. In retrospect, I probably should have gotten a duplicate diploma and used that one for the visa, since it gets crimped by the notary. Oh well. And nobody thought to tell me that the passport photo I needed for the visa application would not be accepted if I was wearing earrings!! So just when I thought I was done, I had to go get new photos taken.
I also had to pack up my entire house: two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a finished basement. I gave A LOT away, sold most of the furniture, and packed away things I wanted to keep. I learned that I have too many possessions. Even though I only rented a 5×10 storage unit, having it all piled up like that just shows the amount of STUFF I’ve accumulated.
Finally, eventually, the paperwork was all submitted to China, but with the delays, it was too close to the beginning of the school year. There wasn’t enough time to process the work permit. So, after checking with other people who have taught in China, I agreed to apply for a tourist visa to get me in country. Of course, I will still need the work visa, but it seems that this route has become standard operating procedure.
So, I paid for an expedited tourist visa, which arrived last Friday. After confirming with the agent in Chicago on Thursday that it had indeed been obtained, I purchased a ticket for Friday afternoon. She overnighted the visa to me and six hours after receiving it, I got on the plane!
After staying 24 hours in Los Angeles for orientation with the US recruiter, I boarded a plane for Beijing at 2am Sunday morning.
I arrived in Beijing at 5am Monday after a twelve hour flight.
After going through Customs and Immigration (two separate areas) I finally managed to arrive at my gate – with ten minutes to spare! I ran over to the nearest store to buy some water since I was so hot and sweaty, but my card was declined!
I could have cried.
But instead I went across the hallway to a restaurant and was able to get a juice and a bottle of water. They accepted my card without a hitch, and I able to sit and enjoy the juice before going back to the gate for boarding.
Four hours later, I had arrived at my destination and my new chapter began.